Well, I never thought I would say this line: “Congratulations Bob Dylan for winning the Nobel Prize in Literature!” I never thought I would say it, but I like how it sounds. Dylan was a voice for a generation. Slightly before my time. Prolific during my time. And even now, growing a little older and looking a little haggard, Bob Dylan continues to create music that touches the soul.
Consider some of my favorite lyrics . . .
How many roads must a man walk down / Before you call him a man? / Yes, and how many seas must a white dove sail / Before she sleeps in the sand? / Yes, and how many times must the cannonballs fly / Before they’re forever banned? / The answer my friend, is blowin’ in the wind / The answer is blowin’ in the wind. (Blown’ in the Wind)
Dylan captured the angst of a generation. His words reflect what we sometimes feel, namely, our personal futility and the futility of the entire human enterprise. To feel the futility of life is to be human. In the words of the Hebrew Bible — “Vanity of vanities; all is vanity.” He also captured the futility of what happens when a relationship doesn’t become what we had hoped. Consider the following . . .
Ain’t it hard when you discover that / He really wasn’t where it’s at / After he took from you everything he could steal / How does it feel / How does it feel / To be on your own / With no direction home / Like a complete unknown Like a rolling stone. (Like a Rolling Stone)
But he also captured the poignant beauty of relationships too. Like most poets, Dylan was forever circling the ultimate experience of love. You can almost feel yourself sitting in a small apartment with a friend or lover as Dylan writes the following words . . .
Then she opened up a book of poems / And handed it to me / Written by an Italian poet / From the 13th Century / And every one of them words rang true / And glowed like burnin’ coal / Pourin’ off every page / Like it was written in my soul from me to you / Tangled up in blue. (Tangled Up in Blue)
Congratulations to Bob Dylan — Nobel Prize Winner! Take a Breath today. Let the poets and mystics and madmen (and women) speak to your soul. They take us to new places in our humanity. They remind us that there is more to life than meets the eye. Or in Dylan’s words: Behind every beautiful thing, there’s been some kind of pain.